It has been over seven months now since I have uttered a word to another human being. I have to admit I mutter to myself on occasion, to the landlord’s cat who visits from time to time, and to my resident Pooh bears. But, I have been speechless around human beings.
In some ways, this project has been relatively easy. The way life runs lately, there are only a few people I run into on a regular basis. Workers at the grocery, post office and credit union. They have gotten used to my silence once I presented my “Mum is the word card” to them.
I have somewhat unknowingly found two pretty effective ways to distance people. One by going silent. Few people want to deal with my scribbling on a pad of paper while they talk and have to wait when I am writing. I must also admit that I find it a difficult way to communicate and that I don’t go looking for “conversations.”
[My time of silence has caused me to reflect on “conversations” in general. I have to say that it seems that we are all caught up in our own worlds and that many conversations are empty of content.]
The other way I have found to distance people is to ask for them to do a book review. Most of those I have asked, after readily agreeing to write a review, have become invisible as well as non-communicating.
I was asked by a 90+ year-old friend in a letter – remember those – a few days ago about my silence project. One thought I shared with her was that silence is another language we all might want to learn. I don’t expect television, telephone or the internet on the other side - heaven or whatever it is. Nor do I think we will be talking. To communicate, we will use telepathy or thought projection or something similar. Some people can do it now. Maybe we all can communicate telepathically when we have great need or desire.
So then, learning silence should have “long-term” value. When we silence our mouths and settle our minds – which is even harder, we will surely have better potential for “speaking silently” and with meaning.
Sound and speech have much greater power and value than we give them. Part of a simple and useful life might well include speaking less and sharing more. When we do speak, our words will have more value and force.
What do we presently create when we often speak without thinking and just say whatever comes out of our mouths? We would like to suppose that “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” but that may often be the case.
May we think, speak and act with goodwill to all.
Post comments below or send them to theportableschool at gmail dot com.